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Board OKs chickens in residential areas

By Hugh Fisher
hfisher@salisburypost.com
CONCORD ó Very soon, chickens may be coming home to roost in a neighborhood near you.
Cabarrus County’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to allow homeowners to keep chickens in areas zoned low density residential and medium density residential.
After residents’ requests to keep hens for egg production were turned down, the board took up the matter two weeks ago at its planning session.
With the chance, homeowners with less than an acre will be permitted up to five hens, solely for the purpose of egg-laying, Planning and Zoning Director Susie Morris told commissioners in her report before the vote.
Homeowners with one to two acres may house up to 10 chickens, and parcels of two to five acres may have up to 15 chickens.
“Five acre tracts and more are already subject to regular livestock standards which allow them to have what you would consider farm animals,” Morris said.
The new law only allows hens ó “Roosters will not be permitted,” Morris said ó and they must be contained in a chicken house and run.
These must be set back a minimum of 25 feet from property lines, and 50 feet from any stream.
Discussions of safety and noise came up during the planning meeting, and Morris told commissioners that any such complaints would be handled as zoning enforcement actions.
“Any noise should be in a house, which should be self-contained,” Morris said. And runs will be required so that the chickens don’t literally fly the coop.
A public hearing required by the ordinance change drew no comments.
Finding the new law up to scratch, Commissioner Bob Carruth made the motion to approve the ordinance; Commissioner Grace Mynatt seconded.
Last night’s vote was hailed as a measure to help families who are trying to save money.
“It’s an issue of allowing people to provide for their families,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Jay White said.

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